Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Ladybug Whisperer

My daughter loves ladybugs. Ladybugs and butterflies. And because ladybugs are easier to catch and more transportable than butterflies, she finds one everyday and carries it around until it dies. Or flies away. Whichever comes first.

Last week she found a yellow ladybug that was injured. Its wing was stuck outside its shell, and it wasn’t moving. At all. Leah said it was sleeping, or possibly sad that it was injured AND separated from its family. I said it was dead. Nicely, I said it nicely and in a very age-appropriate manner. She stood by her diagnosis; the ladybug’s health and vitality were intact.

For nearly an hour she nursed the ladybug, setting it on the table (ew!), whispering into her palm and taking it outside to visit nature. And darn it if she didn’t bring that ladybug back to life. I watched in amazement as it began to limp across the back of her hand.

Rich and I finally convinced her to take the ladybug outside so it could go home and get better. Holding back tears, she agreed, although she stayed in the backyard by its side until bedtime. She came in and informed us, “The ladybug lives in our backyard. She told me so.” And all was well.

Until, that is, my mother-in-law informed me that a 3-year old died after being bitten by a ladybug. Apparently the child was allergic. As worst-case-scenario mom, my first reaction was to freak out and ban all ladybug activity. But then I regained my composure to realize that if Leah was allergic we would have discovered that, oh, 2 years ago. The girl’s immune.

It’s seems, however, that Leah’s affinity for bugs extends to moths as well (but not spiders). Last night Kaleb discovered a moth in his bedroom. As he chased the moth down with a boardbook, intending to, well, squash it like a bug, Leah melted down.

“Moooooom,” she wailed. “Kaleb’s trying to kill a moth!”

“Let me take care of that,” I said, grabbing the boardbook and coaxing the moth onto its cover. And then, too lazy to walk down the stairs and out to the backyard, I flushed the moth down the toilet.

We were halfway through our bedtime story when Leah interrupted. “Mom, did you kill the moth?” Argh. Foiled.

“I flushed it down the toilet, Sweetie,” I said.

Leah’s face contorted and her eyes welled up with tears. “Why would you kill a moth? Moths don’t hurt humans!!!!”

“I’m sorry, Leah,” I said. “Next time we’ll take the moth outside together, okay?”

She tipped her head to the side and looked at me, as if using her supernatural power to detect honesty. Convinced, she smiled. “Okay,” she said. “Next time we’ll save the moth together.”

The Ladybug Whisperer has a convert. I won’t be flushing anymore moths, ladybugs, potato bugs, or butterflies down the toilet. Spiders, however, don’t stand a chance.


Gustogirl said...

I am all for killing spiders!! Squish 'em fast before I get too freaked out and my kids see my anxiety. Cute ladybug story!

Absolutely Bananas said...

Ok, your mom sounds an awful lot like mine. CJ has a cold, my mom says "Do you think it could be croup? A just heard of a child who died from croup." CJ gets a cut and my mom says, "Do you think it's infected? He could lose his arm, you know." Aargh! Lady bugs? Come on! I'm glad you kept your head on that one! :)

Slackermommy said...

I've got one like that also. It's sweet. Me on the other hand has no problem killing flies, moths, and spiders.

pinkmorning said...

great post. i loved ladybugs when i was a child and had no idea that they bit people, until my husband came home with a red mark on his skin, it was a ladybug bite. we researched it online...they don't have venom. a ladybug bite is less painful than a bee sting(according to my husband) and it is not common for ladybugs to bite. thank you for your sweet comment on my post. i appreciate it.

Midwest Mommy said...

Have to say my mom is the same way too with the worse case stuff! I always tease her because it is so out of habit that she doesn't even know she is doing it. Let's just say for my babyshower I got everything to protect her from germs! Loved the story!

LikeAstaR said...

what is it about ladybugs that make us forget that thye are indeed... BUGS? They have creepy crwly legs and fly?? Oh well, they are still cute.

Donna's Daughter said...

Once my son (then age 5)brought home a potato bug. We enjoyed watching it, but knowing it would eventually die, I convinced my son to release it in the back yard so that it could return home to it's bug family. The moment my son set the bug down on the porch our dog, sensing a treat, rushed over and ATE the bug. The look of horror on my son's face was priceless. It was one of those moments where you have to hold your breath to keep yourself from giggling uncontrollably at inappropriate moments.

shauna said...

Donna's Daughter,
That is classic! How you could not laugh at that is beyond me. (Boy, the dog must have been a little disappointed...)